Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to affirm our conviction in the golden rule and the law of sowing and reaping: doing good unto others and expecting good to return to us. But more than a good idea, doing good is also a shrewd business strategy.
Researchers tell us that companies that invest their time, talent and resources to improve their communities enjoy considerably higher employee engagement, customer loyalty and revenue, among other benefits. On the flipside, businesses that fail to engage their local communities have a harder time competing, attracting talent and buyers.
Below are research-backed, compelling reasons to consider expanding your company’s community engagement, plus thoughts on getting started or “upping” your game with OneZone’s help.
Increased Employee Engagement & Retention
Engaged employees are good for business. “Engaged employees will go the extra mile to ensure your company keeps winning,” writes Alexandra Cavalluzzi, an HR expert, for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). When your company demonstrates social responsibility in the community, “these folks want your company to do well because they understand that when the company wins, everyone wins,” she explains.
The offshoot? “Research by the Corporate Executive Board involving millions of employees across several industries found that, on average, every employee who participates in corporate community activities adds $2,400 to the value of the company as a result of decreased turnover and increased employee engagement,” writes Yvonne Siu Turner in a report for the nonprofit.
A Deloitte survey cited in the same report says millennials are 200% as likely to be happy with their career progression when they can volunteer through their employer, and 24% are more likely to recommend their employer to a friend if it has a strong culture of community involvement.
Cavalluzzi notes community engagement is especially important when employees are spread out in various locations: “As any HR leader in a company with multiple locations knows, the further you move away from headquarters, the more isolated and disconnected employees tend to feel.” Rallying employees around a cause can combat that, fostering a sense of inclusiveness and shared purpose.
Increased Customer Loyalty & Spend
Purpose is aligned with profit, reports The Conference Board. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a corporate-nonprofit partnership and will travel an extra 10 minutes out of their way to purchase a product that supports a cause. About 7 out of 10 buyers are willing to pay more for that product too.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. “Increasingly, people are expressing their support for [organizations] through their choice of work, purchases, and investments,” the report states.
Better Ability to Compete
“Companies with more community engagement practices significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, in terms of both stock market and accounting performance,” reports The Conference Board, referring to Harvard Business School findings.
But even when value is hard to measure, your company should invest in community involvement simply because your competitors do, and your employees can go to 200 other firms that believe in community involvement, argues The CPA Journal.
Put simply, the cost of doing nothing is great. Plus, your business can’t thrive if your community is failing.
Crafting Your Community Engagement Strategy
Aligning company goals, employee interests and community needs is a great starting point. So is asking employees about causes they care about and giving them a say in how your organization can make a difference. These discussions can lead to “done-in-a-day” programs, pro-bono work, rallying around pending legislation, serving on boards, and more.
Among companies with advanced community engagement programs, some include community engagement work in performance reviews for at least some of their employees. Community investments range from cash grants to in-kind donations, employee time and skills, and advocacy positions on social issues, reports The Conference Board.
How OneZone Helps
Each month, OneZone provides updates and opportunities for members to learn, facilitate and advocate for positive changes in our communities.
Earlier this month, we discussed local needs and developments in our Legislative Breakfast, paying special attention to our 2020 Legislative Advocacy Priorities.
(Now is a great time to register for our March Legislative Breakfast, by the way!)
Each Thursday, we keep you informed with Three for Thursday: bite-sized commentary on the latest legislative developments and why they matter. We also make it easy for you to find meeting agendas and contacts for the Cities of Carmel and Fishers, right here.
Finally, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to register for upcoming member events when you can get to know your peers and fine-tune your sense of what’s happening in the communities you serve, and how you can help lead solutions.
Need some guidance? We’re at your service.
Send a request to fellow OneZone members, or drop us a note for an introduction or assistance.
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